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  #11  
Old 12-27-2011, 07:44 AM
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I'm cutting out the next two parts of my list (surprises and disappointments) and getting right to the list. It's been expanded to 15 albums. I will say that I either haven't listened to the following albums enough or I don't have them:

Diamond Plate - Generation Why?
Fullforce - One
Invection - Facet of Aberration (this one would certainly make the top 8)
Skull Fist - Head of the Pack
Vektor - Outer Isolation

Starting with #15:

15. Glen Drover - Metalusion



Maybe I'm biased because I took guitar lessons from Drover for a while, but I love this album. It's a lot more interesting than your typical instrumental shred album (which I do love). It was surprising to find out that so many of these songs were covers, but I hadn't heard any of them before, so it was all new material to me.

Recommended Track: Ground Zero

14. Alcoholator - Coma



I've been following this band since their release of "Drunker Than Thou" last year and this really just improves on it. It's pretty standard thrash, but all of the tracks are memorable and have great riffing. The Exciter cover was a bit of a dud, but the rest of the album is awesome. Full review here: http://www.metal-archives.com/review...r/Coma/317273/

Recommended Track: Abduction

13. Rhapsody of Fire - From Chaos to Eternity



This was the third Rhapsody/Rhapsody of Fire album I picked up and it's far superior to the other two I have. Unlike the others, this has more than one amazing track, and it also has a lengthy track that doesn't overstay its welcome. This is really nothing you wouldn't expect from this band, they just did it better than I've ever heard. I'm not sure where they'll go from here, but I wouldn't have minded if they went out on this album.

Recommended Tracks: From Chaos to Eternity & the epic Heroes of the Waterfalls' Kingdom
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  #12  
Old 12-27-2011, 08:45 PM
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hellawaits77ny hellawaits77ny is offline
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Sorry to hear you didn't enjoy Deicide. I saw them just a few days prior and they were great. As you said in your post, I'm sure you'll enjoy them next time.

Yeah, and fuck Billy Talent. I hope those guys got booed something fierce doing their set. They must be real popular in Ontario or something, to play AFTER Slayer.
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  #13  
Old 12-28-2011, 09:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hellawaits77ny View Post
Sorry to hear you didn't enjoy Deicide. I saw them just a few days prior and they were great. As you said in your post, I'm sure you'll enjoy them next time.

Yeah, and fuck Billy Talent. I hope those guys got booed something fierce doing their set. They must be real popular in Ontario or something, to play AFTER Slayer.
Billy Talent are huge here (I thought they were huge everywhere), but I just can't see how they were slotted to play after Slayer.

12. Rocka Rollas - The War of Steel Has Begun



If you like Speed Metal or Running Wild, you will love this album. It's somewhat under the radar, because it's essentially a one-man project with very little promotion (I only knew of it because it's done by a guy on Metal-Archives). I got it recently, so I can't say too much more about it, but the tracks will speak for themselves.

Recommended Tracks: Dark Future & Fight For the Loud

11. Symfonia - In Paradisum



This might be the most derivative release I've ever heard, but it's awesome. Timo may have lost it in Stratovarius, but he did a good job here. I also was impressed with Andre Matos, even though he seems to struggle with a couple of high notes.

Recommended Tracks: Fields of Avalon & Rhapsody in Black

10. Steel Panther - Balls Out



This band is great. If you put their lyrics aside, they really do Hair/Glam Metal as well as anyone (except for Skid Row, who are arguably Heavy Metal anyways). All of the songs are catchy and Satchel does a great job shredding. Despite my love for this band, the second album just isn't as well done as the first. The lyrics are a little more repetitive and even offensive at points ("That's What Girls are For"). There are also too many songs and not all of them are hit singles (like the debut could have been). Still, this album is awesome and writing a song about Tiger Woods was genius. The even better part was that they had to insult him in a second song ("If You Really Really Love Me").

Recommended Tracks: Just Like Tiger Woods & Tomorrow Night
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  #14  
Old 12-29-2011, 07:03 AM
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9. Deicide - To Hell With God



After the major step back of Till Death Do Us Part, Deicide really did a great job with this one. I'd say that it's my favourite post-Serpents of the Light album (I love the first four). Glen's vocals here are much better than they were on The Stench of Redemption and the lead work is actually pretty similar with Ralph Santolla on board. The highlight is of course the final track, which might just be the best Deicide song ever.

Recommended Tracks: To Hell With God & How Can You Call Yourself A God?

8. Alestorm - Back Through Time



When I first got this album, I loved it. It was around #4 on the list, but the combination of better albums being released and some of the enjoyment from this album wearing off made it drop to #8. This is really no different from the other two Alestorm releases, but I would rank it below Captain Morgan's Revenge and above Black Sails at Midnight. Lyrically, this is probably their best release, as I found both the title track and "Scraping the Barrel" to be completely genius. Much like the other two albums in this post, if you are a fan of the band, you'll like this album, and if you aren't, it probably won't convince you.

Recommended Tracks: Back Through Time & Rum

7. Warbringer - Worlds Torn Asunder



As much of a disappointment as this was, it's still Warbringer, and it still destroys. It's really not that much different from Waking Into Nightmares, but the songs just aren't as good. With the exception of "Living Weapon" and "Enemies of the State", none of these songs could have made it on the last album. Regardless, this album is brutal and everyone should buy it.

Recommended Tracks: Living Weapon & Enemies of the State
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  #15  
Old 12-29-2011, 10:08 PM
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A bit odd of you to name Deicide as one of the most disappointing live bands when you admit that it was mostly your fault (being sick & not knowing enough material).
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  #16  
Old 12-30-2011, 05:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Northern_Shaman View Post
A bit odd of you to name Deicide as one of the most disappointing live bands when you admit that it was mostly your fault (being sick & not knowing enough material).
It was more the fact that I didn't enjoy the show. It was a disappointment because I expected it to be awesome. Not knowing the material wasn't the end of the world, it just would have made it better. Being sick and having bad sound can definitely make for a disappointing show. Especially because I was fine the day of the show.
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  #17  
Old 12-30-2011, 07:56 AM
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6. HammerFall - Infected



While many were disappointed with this, I think I've reached the point where I can enjoy just about anything HammerFall does. If you actually really analyze the music, it's not that different from their previous releases. I have to mention the guitar work of Pontus Norgren as I think he's really stepped up to fill the void left by Stefan Elmgren. He's even better on this release than on No Sacrifice, No Victory. The only major negatives of the album are the confusing tracks "I Refuse" and "Redemption", which I don't really think fit in too well.

Full Review Here: http://www.metal-archives.com/review...1173/Spiner202

Recommended Tracks: The Outlaw & 666 - The Enemy Within

5. Crimson Shadows - Glory on the Battlefield



I've been waiting for this one since 2008. I'm not sure it's officially been released yet because the release party is in February (although I bought a CD copy, so maybe it has been). For anyone who has never heard this band, they are a Power/Death Metal band, but they are not Melodic Death Metal. Imagine if Corpsegrinder were singing for Dragonforce, and then there were a couple of sections with clean vocals. If you are looking for something unique in Metal, you have to check out this album, because there's literally nothing to compare it to.

Recommended Tracks: Kingdom of Ale and Journey's End http://crimsonshadows.bandcamp.com/
The full album is only streaming until tomorrow night, but you can still hear Battle Hard in full after New Years Eve.

4. Cauldron - Burning Fortune



Cauldron are yet another band that really stepped it up recently. Their first album was really enjoyable, but I prefer this one a lot more. There are a ton of guitar solos (somewhere between 1 and 3 per song) and the vocals are really melodic. As mediocre as the vocals are, they are somewhat mesmerizing and hypnotic. In fact, I've found the mid-paced songs to be a lot catchier recently. I would give this one a chance to grow on you, because I like it a lot more than when I first got it. I also have to commend them on their choice of "I Confess" as a cover. I wasn't familiar with the original, and for a while, I didn't even recognize this was a cover because it is exactly their style.

Recommended Tracks: Miss You To Death & Tears Have Come
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  #18  
Old 12-30-2011, 08:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spiner202 View Post
6. HammerFall - Infected



While many were disappointed with this, I think I've reached the point where I can enjoy just about anything HammerFall does. If you actually really analyze the music, it's not that different from their previous releases. I have to mention the guitar work of Pontus Norgren as I think he's really stepped up to fill the void left by Stefan Elmgren. He's even better on this release than on No Sacrifice, No Victory. The only major negatives of the album are the confusing tracks "I Refuse" and "Redemption", which I don't really think fit in too well.
I don't think it's disappointing in the least. I honestly think it's considerably better than anything I expected from them at this point. The last 2 albums pretty much bored me to tears. Not that Hammerfall has ever been a terribly groundbreaking/unique/etc sort of band, but the songs just hadn't even been enjoyable for me for quite a while. I still don't LOVE this album, but it's better than I expected it to be.
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  #19  
Old 12-30-2011, 09:18 PM
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hellawaits77ny hellawaits77ny is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spiner202 View Post
9. Deicide - To Hell With God



The highlight is of course the final track, which might just be the best Deicide song ever.
Interesting. That's one of my least favorite from this record. But I definately agree w/ this pick, though. Great album
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  #20  
Old 12-31-2011, 08:24 AM
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Originally Posted by hellawaits77ny View Post
Interesting. That's one of my least favorite from this record. But I definately agree w/ this pick, though. Great album
I'm surprised anyone could dislike it. Tons of great guitar solos, and completely brutal riffing.

Time for the top 3. Two of these should be no surprise, and even #2 isn't all that surprising either.

3. Alice Cooper - Welcome 2 My Nightmare



This album had the potential to be a complete flop, and I know some people saw it that way, but I think everything really came together here. I'd rather have weird songs that are still catchy than the terrible efforts of the Eyes of Alice Cooper and Dirty Diamonds. My only concern with this album is how it will go over live. I can only see about half of these songs working live. There are just too many styles/guests/weirdness to be played live. I'll let the music speak for itself, because it's really different from any Alice Cooper album.

Recommended Tracks: I Am Made of You, Caffeine & Disco Bloodbath Boogie Fever (couldn't find a youtube video for this one)

2. Stratovarius - Elysium



Sometimes, artwork makes a huge difference. I picked this one up just because of the cover. I was not a fan of Stratovarius beforehand. I had Elements Part I, which sucked apart from "Eagleheart". I pop in this album and I was already convinced it was album of the year (though I bought it in February, so it was a bit early to judge). This is pretty much everything I look for in Power Metal: catchy melodies, lack of unneeded complexity (even the title track is fairly simple in its structure), soaring vocals, and shredding guitarwork (and keyboard work in this case). The only downside to this album is "Lifetime In A Moment", which is a bit too long and isn't as interesting as the other tracks. I should also mention that since buying this, I've bought 3 more Stratovarius albums (Visions, Infinite, and Polaris) and this is by far the best one. I'll keep buying them, but I don't see Stratovarius topping this near masterpiece.

Recommended Tracks: Under Flaming Skies, Event Horizon, & the best track of 2011: Elysium

1. Borealis - Fall From Grace



Since 2008, I have been convinced that Borealis is the best kept secret of the Power Metal world. Their debut, World of Silence, ranks in my top 5 albums of all-time. That album convinced me that keyboards could work in Metal. I'd seen them live a few times since and had heard "Where We Started" and "Regeneration" live long before this album was release (2009). The anticipation literally could not have been higher, and I watched these two videos of "Where We Started" nearly every day for a long time. When I first got the album, I honestly have to admit that I didn't think it was that great. Only four tracks stood out to me (three of which had already been released before I got the album), and there's no way it was living up to World of Silence. With more listens, I've grown to love every track, but it still doesn't quite match up. The best part about this album is the improvement in the vocals, but I was disappointed at the downgrade in drumming and guitar solos. They are still great, but they were just so much better on World of Silence (see: the title track and "The Afterlife"). If I could ever stop comparing it to the debut, you'd probably realize that I do love this album. Maiden33 seems to have discovered its awesomeness, and I encourage everyone else to at least listen to a few songs.

Full Review: http://www.metal-archives.com/review...2331/Spiner202

Recommended Tracks: Where We Started, Breaking The Curse, and the 2nd best song of 2011: Forgotten Forever

Hopefully you enjoyed reading my list. Despite the fact that my end of the year lists have had a lot of Power/Traditional Heavy Metal in recent years, I actually do like Thrash best. I've just found that Power/Traditional done well is something that always draws me back.
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